Leaders of 'Normandy Quartet' to synchronize watches in Berlin
Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Berlin today, where he will meet the leaders of the 'Normandy Quartet'.
A possibility of holding new direct negotiations between the Russian President Vladimir Putin, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the French President Francois Hollande and the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has been questionable until the last moment. The decision on holding the meeting was finalized yesterday, although its organization has been discussed since early September.
On October 17, Russian President’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said the chances for holding the Berlin summit were slim. But 24 hours later he confirmed that the Russian president would visit Berlin for the 'Normandy Quartet' talks on October 19. According to him, the Russian leader had several meetings behind the closed doors ahead of the Berlin summit.
"A year has passed since the presidents of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine met in the 'Normandy Quartet' format in Paris last year. In fact, it was the aides’ work, which showed the need to synchronize the watches," Peskov explained.
He added that Moscow was convinced that there was no alternative to the Minsk agreements, which should be carried out by all the countries, which undertook commitments under the document. Despite Kiev’s unwillingness to carry out the Minsk agreements, Russian President Vladimir Putin is open and ready for talks. He does what is possible and necessary for promoting the Minsk process within the 'Normandy Quartet' framework.
However, in Peskov’s view, it is still too early to talk about any concrete agreements. In this connection, Peskov reminded the Kiev government of the need to carry out the political part of the Minsk agreements. "We know that the situation here leaves much to be desired. Kiev has met none of its commitments so far. The Kremlin believes that Kiev’s recent calls for forcing Moscow to implement the Minsk agreements only confirm the complexity of the situation ahead of the 'Normandy Quartet' talks.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Kiev was actually trying to shift the responsibility to justify its own refusal to carry out the political part of the Minsk agreements. The Russian head of state said the solution of security problems should be accompanied by political steps necessary for the settlement on the whole and in a long-term perspective.
"No settlement will be possible without that," Putin said.
In this connection, Putin remembered Kiev’s commitments to pass the laws on amnesty and the Donbass special status and amend the country’s constitution. "We talked about that in Minsk the whole night. If that is not done, it will mean that the incumbent authorities are not ready to resolve problems in the southeast of their own country," Putin stressed.
The last time the leaders of the 'Normandy Quartet' met in October 2015 in Paris.
The deputy director of the Institute of the CIS, Vladimir Zharikhin, told Vestnik Kavkaza that the meeting has been made possible only thanks to the fact that Vladimir Putin agreed to participate in it. I do not see any meaningful prerequisites for this meeting to become a breakthrough in the implementation of the Minsk agreements. At the same time, as we know, the Russian president said very clearly that if there are no prerequisites, then a meeting makes no sense. Therefore, certain promises that the meeting will not be meaningless were given," the expert believes.
At the same time, it is unlikely that any tactics of Hollande and Merkel will help to force Poroshenko to implement the Minsk agreements. "He has a classic tactic: outside Ukraine he swears allegiance to the Minsk Agreements, and after returning to Kiev he says:" What amendments to the Constitution, what amnesty law, what are you talking about ?!" In the past, this tactic did not meet condemnation from Europe. Apparently, the moment of truth is coming, the European countries understand that Kiev is sabotaging the implementation of the Minsk Agreements, waiting for the change of leadership in the White house in the US. So, they will try to put pressure on Poroshenko, to force him to at least imitate willingness to carry out the Minsk Agreements. Otherwise, it will be difficult for them to explain their citizens the continuation of the anti-Russian sanctions," Vladimir Zharikhin noted.
According to the expert, even Washington is changing its attitude towards Kiev. "The US used all the time used the phrase "sanctions against Russia will be lifted only after the implementation of the Minsk agreements by Russia", now it was changed: the sanctions will be lifted after the implementation of the agreements by Moscow and Kiev. It turns out that they impose sanctions against Russia due to Kiev's failure to implement the Minsk Agreements" the deputy director of the Institute of the CIS concluded.